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Quick planting guide:

Plant white clover at 4-6#'s per acre, red clover at 8-12#'s per acre

Early spring, late summer or frost seed in late winter with late August seedings being the most trouble free.

Add cereal grains for a nurse crop to hold down weeds and attract whitetails at the same time.

Fertilize and lime per soil test (200-300#'s of 6-28-28 will work in a bind)disc/till soil once, lightly till or drill in oats or rye 1/2" to 1 1/2" deep, cultipack to firm soil, broadcast clover seed, re-cultipack to cover 1/8-1/4" deep.

Clip off spring planted oats in mid summer or fall planted rye in late May, if grasses become a problem use 6-8 ounces of clethodim (Select/Arrow) with one quart of crop oil per acre. Clipping will control most broadleaves but BUTYRAC® 200 (2-4DB) can be used if needed.

This thread will explain in detail but this is meant just as a quick reference

This a clover seeding that was frost seeded this past winter. I clipped the weeds once earlier but it's time to do it again. A little grass is coming up also but I'm hoping to wait until next spring to hit the grass with Select Max. Select vs Poast Plus

This plot had been in brome sod, so I mowed it August, waited for it to greenup and sprayed it with 2 quarts of Roundup Max in September.

This left little surface residue and no grass competition for the new frost seeding.

PH was fine and I put on #300 of 6-24-24 fertilizer.

Normal seeding rates for white clover are roughly 4#'s per acre and 8-12#'s for red clover but when frost seeding it doesn't hurt to up the rate to 6-8#'s and 10-15#. Frost seeding is a very effective, easy and economical method of establishing clovers especially in areas where tillage is not possible.

In most cases we will be frost seeding in Feb./March when there is little or no snow cover and the ground is freezing at night, thawing during the day.

Use a small hand seeder or calibrated ATV spreader or even a drill and sow seed in early morning when ground is frozen.

Be aware however that some clovers such as annual Berseem Clover cannot be frost seeded!! I would also like to pointout that many commercial "brand" mixes such as WI's Imperial Clover contain as much as 30% berseem...so frost seeding these mixes means you will be throwing away (literally) a third on the money you spent on seed!!

A much better option is to buy and plant the specific seeds you will need in your situation.

I have found Welter Seed to be an excellent source for "seeds by the pound". They will gladly ship you 5#'sor 500 and mine often arrives the next day!

Alice White Clover is one of the finest, most drought resistant white clovers for midwest and northern areas that is available and will allow you to plant an acre of premium white clover for 20 bucks!


We will try to cover every concievable aspect of planting and maintaining clover food plots in this thread as we go along.

Frost seeding, spring seeding, summer and very early fall seedings. We'll cover using herbicides, when and when not to clip, what types, varieties and brands of clover to plant and hopefully answer every imaginable question at the same time.
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I've clipped my clover twice now which is keeping the weeds at bay. This clover is planted on a "clay knob" so the soil is pretty poor.
Despite that it has done fairly well considering the drought.
It's mostly white clover with some ladino. Ladino is still a white clover but it gets a little taller and larger leaves. The white clover never gets very tall so mowing is more for weed control then anything.


The entire plot is covered with beds like this one:


This clover is only 80 yards from my RR corn/bean field and across the fence from a large field of alfalfa. Niether one have stopped the deer from "feasting" on my corn and beans /forum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/crazy.gif
How much does poast cost per gallon?

I wouldn't want to have it shipped in as it's available at most fertilizer dealers, but this price gives you a rough idea:

Poast Plus Price

2 1/2 gallons goes a long way too!

Application Rate for Poast

Select 2 EC herbicide is used for control of grasses in alfalfa and clover. 4-8 oz. per acre costing $5-15 an acre. Select runs roughly $125-140 per gallon but we have found it to be a much more effective grass herbicide then Poast Plus for the same or slightly less cost per acre.

Select (clethodim) must be used with crop oil and can also be used in soybeans, field peas, brassicas, sugar beets, sunflowers and a whole host of "non grass" type plants. Read the label carefully but this highly effective grass herbicide has many uses from your garden to your food plot.

Arrow (generic version of Select grass herbicide) Always check for generic versions that are equally as effective for...less!

BUTYRAC® 200 (2-4DB) is used for controlling broadleaf weeds in clover and alfalfa.

A list of all herbicides and the cost per gallon. It's continued at the bottom of each page as it goes from A-Z.
Poast is listed at $65 a gal. with a range of $4-12 per acre depending on the rate:

Weed control costs

Find Poast at bottom of page

General guide to all crops and weed ID and herbicide comparisons:

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I planted a plot to a mix of white, red and ladino clover today. I'm really not that crazy about red clover for deer but it was in a mix I split with a friend.

The plot was in brome sod, so I mowed, allowed it to greenup and sprayed with Roundup several weeks prior to tilling it.

Plant clover at 5-8# per acre and use the smallest setting if using a hand seeder.

I feel inoculation is very important with legume seed. Even pre-inoculated seed has a "shelf life" so why take a chance for $4.00


Very simple to mix, can be done dry but it doesn't stick well. Make sure you keep your inoculate cool (fridge is best) until just before you use it. Don't throw it on the truck seat and let it bake for an hour first! Mix it just before you go or take a small cooler.

I mixed mine and then went over and planted it this morning before it got real warm.

Inoculate from Welter Seed, a bucket and the clover seed. Add a very small amount of water, just enough to moisten the seed and mix before adding inoculate.

In the rush of planting it is sometimes easy just to load the grain drill with seed and simply dump the peat product on top assuming it will work its way through the seed and into the soil as you move across the field. This approach can prove to be a costly mistake. In reality, the peat works its way down to the bottom of the seed box and moves little beyond that point. To obtain uniform seed coverage, the most effective method is to use a "sticker" and mix the inoculate with a volume of seed that is manageable to accomplish good coverage. This may mean mixing at three or four different times during the course of filling the seed box.

Many products can be used as a sticker. One cheap and effective approach is to purchase an off-brand two liter bottle of citrus soda and punch several pin holes in the top of the cap. The container can then be used similar to a spray bottle. Apply a small amount of soda over the top of the seed prior to adding the inoculate and then mix thoroughly using an elbow length latex glove making sure every seed is covered. By doing so, the problem of having the inoculate sit at the bottom of the


Then add inoculate, a bag will do a 100#'s so "a little dab'll do ya" :)


Mix it up good (handy to have someplace to wash up


My son tilled the spot up yesterday which was all sod and golderod. I went over it once this morning again with the tiller and the packer behind.

Remember...pack...seed...pack again.


Finished clover plot


I frost seeded this clover last winter and I've mowed it 4 times this year. It needs it again as it still has foxtail and ragweed popping up in it.


Comparing clover to alfalfa...it is easier to maintain but still requires frequent clipping and/or spraying.
The clover won't last as long as alfalfa but I will rotate these two plots with brassicas when they die out.
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My baby clover is popping up!


Good thing...because they are mowing the patch right beside it!


If you can't hay it...clover is a lot easier to maintain. Stick with low growing clovers like white and ladino clovers for an easy to take care of plot.


Don't seem to need much fertilizer...


If you have enough acreage to rent it out for hay, check out: Alfalfa
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Dbltree, do you prefer frost seeding or fall planting clover. I put in almost 5 acres in the spring 4 acres this year and 1 acre last year. I think I have learned my lesson, do it in the fall. My fields have turned out beautiful, but it was high maintenance. We had to spray 2-4-DB and Poast twice, to keep the grass and weed at bay. That gets timely and expensive. I expect the clover to be so thick next spring that it will out compete the grasses and weeds. From now on I plan to nuke the field at least once then try a fall planting, my fear with this is that the clover will not be capable of dominating the field in the spring, any thoughts?

There are pros and cons to each seeding method and no one type is right for everyone.

Spring seeding normally has great moisture which in turn brings a flush of weeds that one has to fight all summer.

Frost seeding is great because little equipment is needed. Mow and spray this time of year and seed in late winter. Germination may not always be as good, resulting in an uneven stand sometimes. Certain clovers frost seed easier then others.

Late summer seeding with timely moisture (which can be iffy) will normally result in near perfect germination. It's easy to work down a great seedbed and no racing against the clock due to spring storms etc.

Weeds will germinate just as they do in spring, however the first hard frost will leave broadleaves and foxtail looking like you nuked it with Roundup.

Both clover and alfalfa require frequent mowing, but a thick stand should keep weeds from coming back.
Eventually grasses like brome will start to creep in and Select Max or Select 2-EC may be needed to extend the life of the stand.

To answer your ?? directly...I prefer August (late July to early Sept.) clear seeding of either clovers or alfalfa. Adding oats will give you some early fall feed and a nice mulch when frost kills it off.

You clover should be fine next spring with mowing alone, but keep us posted...we all learn something from each success or failure.
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Do you still nuke the fields for a fall planting, or just let winter take care of the weeds for you, and do you use a tiller or disc, we have used both with about equal success.

If it's in sod forming grasses such as brome or fescue then yes, I always nuke it with Roundup first.

In both the frost seeded clover and the summer seeding in this post I killed the sod first.
I try to mow, let it start to regrow and then give it the "works" using 2 quarts of RUP.

If it is a plot that has been in some type of "crop" (foodplot) like beans, brassicas,wheat etc. then...no, just till and plant because weeds are going to come up no matter if you use roundup or not.
Annual weeds aren't the problem...grasses are and if you don't knock them out...they'll be back...

For clover plots I always use my tiller and cultipacker for a fine well packed seedbed.
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I'm going to be frost seeding firebreaks this winter...I've killed the firebreaks this september. I checked prices at Welter and was thinking of using a mix of red/white and a smaller percentage of perennial rye. Do you see a problem with that mix? My firebreaks(foodplots) are in a not too accessible area so I'm looking for something that will frost seed well and will stay green with minimal maintenance so I'm leaning towards a mix that will stand up as a green firebreak more than a foodplot. Any suggestions would be appreicated. I'm also going to use an ATV and spreader and hope I don't overdue the seed like I did last time...I put a 50 lb bag out way too quick because I misjudged the size of the seed and how quick it went out.
..I put a 50 lb bag out way too quick because I misjudged the size of the seed and how quick it went out.

Some of those seeders can take some practice!

I did the same thing a few weeks ago. I had planted an oat/rye mix and then turned around and dumped in wheat seed on the same setting. Man that wheat pours out fast!
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Man that wheat pours out fast!

:) ;)

Ryegrass is fine...as long as you don't plan on deer eating it They aren't that crazy about it but as noted, it's not really for a foodplot.

I prefer straight clovers for a fire break simply because it doesn't have as much thatch like grasses do. I found out the hard way how quickly a very little fire can creep thru a green, mowed fire break...just by burning the thatch.
Don't ask me what happens when it gets to the other side....
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I've heard that red clovers establish quickly and in not the greatest soils. would you consider that a better food plot alternative vs. rye? Due to my spreader-ineptness I'm sure I'll buy twice as much seed as I need, so if clovers work well on their own as firebreaks, maybe I'll go that route. I'm talking 4-5 acres at the most.
If you do decide to add rye to your firebreaks you might try some Linn perennial rye. I've planted about 50lbs of it in the last 3 years and it turned out well. It is a very short grass, in fact it is used in many lawn mixes so it will minimize thatch problems. I planted straight Linn in between my field wind break rows and also added it to my fire breaks, so far so good. It seems to grow to about 8"-12" max and seeds out fairly early in the year. It doesnt do much growing after seeds head form even if you mow it. Worthless for food or cover, but it doesnt seem to out compete my clover. In fact I have quite a bit of volunteer clover coming up in my wind break as a bonus.
If you do decide to add rye to your firebreaks you might try some Linn perennial rye. I've planted about 50lbs of it in the last 3 years and it turned out well. It is a very short grass, in fact it is used in many lawn mixes so it will minimize thatch problems. I planted straight Linn in between my field wind break rows and also added it to my fire breaks, so far so good. It seems to grow to about 8"-12" max and seeds out fairly early in the year. It doesnt do much growing after seeds head form even if you mow it. Worthless for food or cover, but it doesnt seem to out compete my clover. In fact I have quite a bit of volunteer clover coming up in my wind break as a bonus.

Sounds like that might be worth trying. Red Clover is very easy to seed and grows on just about anything, but it does get taller and heavier then the white clovers. If your going to keep it mowed it would be ok, but white clovers last longer.
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This is clover seedlings planted in late August with oats. They sure needed a drink and cooler weather. These are pretty clean but if there are any annual weeds the temps this morning will take care of them!

The clover/oats combo works well to establish a seeding and have a little fall forage as well. Guess we'll see how much it takes to "toast"the oats [

The deer sure have been munching on my "cheap" oats


I haven't checked my clear seeding yet...don't want all the deer heading to Davers place
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These are end of season pics of clover seeded in August with oats. It's a great way to have a fall foodplot and establish clover at the same time.

The deer have completely mowed the oats:


One advantage to oats is that it will die with cold weather but still leave a root mulch.


There were weeds coming up but frost took care of them


Fall planting of clover helps eliminate the need for herbicides sometimes required with spring planting.


Of course if equipment (such as a cultipacker) is a problem then fall planted oats or rye is a great planting to frost seed clover into in late winter
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Here's what my clover looks like in mid-December:


Not exactly the succulant draw it was in October

The new seeding that I clear seeded (previously in this thread) looks kinda bare at first glance:


But close up shows plenty of baby clover


It's just waitin to bust loose come spring


Including oats would have made a good fall plot that will "self destruct" leaving only the clover in the spring!

If anyone has some clover that is still green this time of year..share some pics and variety if known.
It's getting time to start thinking about frost seeding clover in the next month or so. Hopefully you have killed the sod last fall or have a cereal grain planting to seed into. The least residue possible such as a soybean patch ensures good soil/seed contact when frost seeding.

Normal seeding rates run 5-8# per acre but frost seedings could be a little heavier.

Soil test if at all possible to check PH and fertility levels. A ph between 6.4 and 7 would be better for clovers. You can send samples in thru your local ISU extension service for some where around $8-10 per sample or your local ag supply may do it for free if you purchase your fertilizer there.

6-24-24 is an easy mix to purchase in bags and can be applied anytime when ground is frozen at 200-400# per acre (if a soil test hasn't been done)

400#'s x 24# actual will give you 96# actual P&K per acre.

Lime can be a problem on small plots because some areas can require as high as 6-7 tons per acre and a commercial lime spreader may not want to bother with a 1/2 acre plot.

Liquid lime is a possible: Liquid lime but it is pricey when you include shipping and is not as long lasting as ag lime.

In many cases it might be best to have a load of lime delivered and spread it yourself via a tractor or ATV mounted spreader. In either case...now is the time to put in on as it takes time to correct the soil ph.

This link contains many links to taking soil samples, proper soil testing and great information about liming! /forum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/cool.gif

Soil Sampling and liming links

Red clover is the easiest to frost seed but one of the poorest types of clover to use for deer.

White clovers (which include Ladino) are preferred foodplot clovers and are available in many types of mixes however I urge you to check labels because many companies include red clover as well as Berseem clover which can NOT be frost seeded.

Buying because of a fancy label does not ensure success or deer preferance

Example of varieties sutiable for frost seeding:

Jumbo Ladino Clover

Ladino Clover

Kopu II White Clover

Alice White Clover

You can also frost seed chicory with your clover:

Oasis Chicory

Forage Chicory info

I bought a small bag of WI clover last year and found that it contained a 32% Berseem clover which is an annual clover and not suitable for frost seeding. You won't know what's in the bag until you can read the seed label, so many people pay a very high price for this seed and throw away a 1/3 of the bag... /forum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/crazy.gif

WI Imp. Clover

Again you will notice these "blends" contain Red clovers which will grow well but may not be preferred by deer over white clovers:

Biologic Clover

Some pre-mixed seed one has no idea what actually is in it?


I've heard good things about Durana White Clover but it's more common in southern states. It is however a white clover and perhaps worth trying if it will do well in northeren areas.

Durana Clover

Clover seed is very fine so use a small hand seeder set on the lowest setting. Walk at a brisk walk as you seed until you have covered your plot, then repeat the process walking perpindicular to your previous path to make sure you have covered the area well.

You can always re-cover the area if you have seed leftover however if you run out...you'll be ordering more seed and finishing it up another time!

Check the Herbicides section for more info and sources,
but if your unable to control weeds and grasses by clipping your clover you may need to use herbicides.

Apply Butyrac 200 at 2-4 pints per acre ($8-18 per acre costs) to control broadleaf weeds.

Butyrac 200

Apply Basf poast herbicide at .5 to 1.5 pints per acre ($5 -15 per acre costs) to control grasses. Remember to include crop oil with Poast.

Rates per acre: Poast rates

Select 2 EC herbicide is a grass control herbicide for use in clover and alfalfa. 4-8 oz./$5-15 per acre. Available in one gallon at approx. $120-160 per gallon.

If you frost seed into rye or wheat or spring plant with oats you can spray with Poast or Select when the cereal grains are 6 to 10" high.

The grains will dye slowly creating a fantastic mulch for the new clover (or alfalfa) seedlings.

Don't have a plot ready to frost seed clover? Don't get you shorts in a bunch! Still plenty of options including spring and late summer seeding. Late summer seeding with oats will give you a lush fall food plot and let you skip the herbicides as noted in previous posts in this thread.

Clover is not the ultimate late season food plot as it tends to freeze out fairly early but it is a perfect foodplot for small plots and someone with little or no equipment.

If you want late season legumes and have equipment to maintain it, Alfalfa may be a better option.

White clover is not as long lived as alfalfa lasting 3-5 years but it's short growing nature makes it easier to maintain by clipping it periodically.

It's flowers are an insect magnet which will help feed young turkey poults and you can't beat a clover plot as a great spot to harvest that big tom turkey!

When your clover plot is worn out, follow it with a nitrogen loving plot like brassicas, cereal grains, corn or sourghum.
I have been reading on the Brassicas and clover articles. I need to start over in the clover plots. They are 4-5 years old and are getting real weedy.
I have half in clover and the other half is in Brassicas. Could I just swap them out with each other?
Another question I was wondering. I thought that deer preferred clover over alfalfa due to it being more palatable. Just wondering.
Looking to do a few things different this year and you bring a lot to the table. /forum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
I have half in clover and the other half is in Brassicas. Could I just swap them out with each other?

That's exactly what you should do! Take advantage of the nitrogen from the clover. Kill the clover (weeds, grass and all) in early to mid July and sow your brassicas in late July to early August.

You could frost seed clover into the current brassica patch but it might be rough and that makes mowing a bear!

You may be better off to plan a late summer seeding of clover and oats where the brassicas are now.

Great rotation combo!

I thought that deer preferred clover over alfalfa due to it being more palatable. Just wondering.

That's a good question but since I have both...they eat both! I have clover literally side by side with alfalfa and I think they actually prefer the alfalfa...but they don't stick around for me to ask them

The only question is which is more manageable for you?

Alfalfa is better if someone can take it off for hay because it gets to tall, thick and heavy. It requires frequent mowing and if it's not removed it can smother itself with it's own clippings.

Red clover is nearly as bad but white clover is much shorter and eaiser to maintain.

Like all foodplots each has it's pros and cons...half the fun though is trying different things for yourself and see what works for you
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